Monday, November 12, 2007


Drink water from your own cistern,
And running water from your own well.

-Proverbs 5:15

We had a floater, dead in the water. The bloated body of the transsexual African bobbed beneath the net with dull lifeless eyes.

This was the third body in as many days. Some nefarious agent was at work. Death was run amok.

I retrieved the body from the water and delivered it with care to the toilet down the hall, where I promptly flushed it into ignominious eternity. Fish number three. Third of Four. One was left, and she wasn't looking good.

Whereas, the 20-gallon tank at my house has been home to fish who have lived long past their welcome, years in fact, my 30-gallon tank at the office has been like an aquatic death camp. Scores of fish have now swam from countless clear plastic transport baggies into the spacious confines of lace rock and blue gravel, only to turn belly-up within days of arrival.

The sexually-dimorphic Kenyi were first. Mean-spirited African Cichlids, they are vegetarian, but kill other species for sport. Various attempts were made to balance one yellow male with three or four blue females. None of the attempts succeeded. All of the fish died.

Yet, I continued to buy groups of them. I bought them at expensive fish stores. I bought them at cheap fish stores. I balanced the hardness, temperature and acidity of the water to their liking. I tested and treated for ammonia and nitrite. I tested and treated for chlorine and chloramine. I filtered. I aerated. I patiently waited out a ridiculously long and cloudy nitrate cycle.

Still they died.

I switched species, and went with hardier and far more generic varieties. Still they died.

I bought snails to tidy up the debris. The snails died too.

Nothing seemed to be able to survive for very long in the tank of death. Nothing could live.

Courageously, I have decided to persevere. I have the support of my office mates. I am committed to making the tank work, and I don't care how many fish have to sacrifice their lives for me to do so.

I do, however, have a new plan.

I'm certain, 100 years ago, when my building was first constructed, that the architect spared no cost, and installed only the finest plumbing technology available. Over time, however, even the best pipes can go bad, and upon close inspection, the water coming out of the faucet appears to have a slight brownish discoloration.

Fine, it's the water. However, being several floors up and miles from home, the prospect of carting water in anything greater than 5-gallon volumes proved to be impossible, or, at least, impracticable.

And so, last week, I spoke with a very helpful, yet slightly confused, man named Hector, and placed an order. And today, when I walked in, I was pleasantly pleased to see six 5-gallon plastic bottles of pure filtered clean cool water waiting for me.

And so it has come to this. Each month, my friendly local water delivery man will bring me 10 gallons of clean clear purified water with which, I will fill my tank and keep my fish alive.


  1. If you get the balance right you only need to "change" the water once or twice a year.

    Also, switch to Tanganyikans. I always liked the Julidochromis. They are smart fish.

    Get a few merlieri and dickfeldi.

    Being about to say "dickfeldi" on a regular basis is worth it.

    Also, add some honeycomb limestone to the tank. It makes a killer buffer and the fish will love the holes.

    Those dickfeldi will spend all the time in holes they can. Zooming in and out.

    You will love it.

  2. Oosje7:02 AM

    Do you DRINK the water at your office? Is your office coffee made with this water? Do you let the girl drink this water? YUCK.

    Didn't you watch "Finding Nemo"? Fish don't want to live in acquariums. They want to be FREE!

    Terrerium's are an excellant alternative use for death-trap acquariums. The plants are pretty and you can use the available water. Exoctic species of orchids perhaps?

    Wow, an actual rant so early in the morning. Didn't know I had it in me.

  3. Actually, I do have one chunk of honeycomb limestone. It looks great, and many of the fishes have hid in the holes pending death...

    And no, no one drinks the faucet water. we actually have bottled water for drinking already delivered. The office coffee is made with the good water...

  4. Lucky Red10:30 AM

    Ten little fish were thinking they’d be fine
    One went into the tank, choked on rust
    And then there were nine

    Nine little fish sat up very late
    One didn’t watch his back and then there were eight

    Eight little fish went to the glass and took a big lick
    Floated belly up and then there were six

    Six little fish watched Him practice law
    They all got bored to death from what they saw
    Him came to work and shouted “must be the fish”
    Unknowing the last six just had a death wish.

  5. Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy

    I've got the video tape of him putting spoon fulls of bleach in the water.

  6. oosje, the fish in finding nemo was in a tank at a dental office. Brian's fish get to look over his shoulder at porn all day.
    Not a bad gig.

  7. 90% of our tank raised Koi fish died too. We raised them from eggs over the last couple of months. They were mostly doing okay until the last several days. We figured Holly was overfeeding them. The excess food rots and poisons the tank. Apparently you need to mostly starve fish.

  8. Anonymous8:45 PM

    And of course there's no porn in BS's dental office....

  9. Ryan, you're right. fish, like women, do better with less food...

  10. Anonymous12:39 AM

    I don't know - most men like women with a mouthful of meat


  12. "There are many important positions for women in the world favorite is on top"

    -Dave, speech class 1988


Be compelling.

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